America Recycles Day
November 15th is America Recycles Day. Get involved by pledging to recycle more and recycle better. The recycling industry is facing tougher global market regulations in an effort to reduce contamination. Plastic film, such as plastic bags, is the leading source of recycling contamination since it is not recyclable through single-stream programs, as offered in Concord. We can reduce contamination by learning more about what materials are acceptable and not acceptable for single-stream recycling. Together, we can ensure the sustainability of recycling by learning how to recycle better. Take the #BeRecycled pledge to recycle more and recycle better at AmericaRecyclesDay.org. Residents that share their pledge on Facebook or Twitter and tag Concord General Services @ConcordNHGs while using the #BeRecycled hashtag will be entered for a chance to win a bundle of pay-as-you-throw trash bags.
Single-Stream Recycling: Curbside & Dumpsters
The City of Concord offers the convenience of single-stream recycling. All acceptable recyclable items can be placed together into the same container; recyclables do not have to be sorted in separate bins. Recyclables should not be placed inside of plastic bags, and plastic bags should not be placed in with recyclable materials. Recycling materials should be placed freely together in a recycling bin. Plastic bags need to be kept out of the recycling stream and instead should be recycled at an accepting local retailer. Make sure items are emptied and clean, and boxes are broken down.
Residential curbside recycling collection is for properties with seven units or less. Household recyclables are collected once each week by the City's contractor on a scheduled collection day. Recycling must be placed curbside by 7:00 am on the scheduled day of pick-up and must be placed in the City recycle bin provided by Concord General Services, or in a rigid container/barrel labeled for recycling. Recycling sticker labels are available at Concord General Services if needed.
Residential recycling dumpsters are for multi-unit properties with eight or more units. Recycling containers are placed near complexes for residents to recycle household items. Containers are emptied by the contractor each week on the scheduled collection day. Recycling does not have to be sorted and are all placed into the single stream container. Please do not contain recyclables in plastic bags, but rather empty recyclables freely inside the dumpster. Make sure the area in front of the dumpster is kept clean and free from snow or ice in the winter to allow for safe pick up. Residents should notify their property manager if a container is missed for pick-up.
Acceptable Recycling Materials
Only acceptable recycling materials will be collected. Proactively check recyclables and remove non-recyclable items, such as plastic bags, to avoid contaminating loads. Do not use plastic bags to hold recyclables. Recycling materials should be placed freely in a rigid bin. Acceptable recycling items include paper, metal, glass, cardboard, and plastic. Unacceptable recycling items include plastic bags, Styrofoam, mirrors, batteries, light bulbs, bubble wrap, and other items as listed in our detailed list of acceptable trash and recycling materials.
Prevent Recycling Contamination
Recycling contamination is a central focus right now in the recycling industry. Current market conditions have increased the demand for improved material quality to reduce the level of contamination. The leading source of recycling contamination is plastic film, which includes items such as grocery bags, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, bread bags, etc. Single-stream recycling programs are not capable of effectively processing plastic film. Although plastic bags can be recycled, they require a designated collection system and specific processing equipment, and therefore cannot be included in a single-stream recycling program. Plastic bags need to be kept out of the recycling stream and instead should be recycled at accepting local retailers. Plastic bags should not be placed in with recyclable materials, and recyclables should not be placed inside of plastic bags. Cities that offer convenient single-stream recycling, like Concord, are facing challenges to improve recycling materials to work with the current market.
Single-stream recycling in Concord has made recycling quick and easy for residents without the need to sort materials. Instead, the City’s solid waste contractor, Casella Waste Systems, sorts materials at their facilities to then be marketed and sold for manufacturing into new products. However, these facilities face serious challenges with contaminants, such as plastic film, clogging equipment and slowing down processing. Often times the plastic film can also get mixed in and contaminate other materials. Due to this increased contamination at sorting facilities, a lower tolerance for contaminants has been established in the industry as a whole. This is causing a decline in the recycling market because buyers only want to purchase the highest quality of raw materials, making it difficult to market. Any recycling bins that contain unacceptable items, such as plastic bags, will be rejected at the curb and will be marked with a non-compliance sticker alerting the resident of unacceptable items. Compliance to avoid contamination is necessary to maintain sustainable recycling markets and cooperation is appreciated.